The last time I truly, deeply cared what other people thought of me was probably in 1996. That year, many of my former high school classmates of Oswego High School’s graduating class of 1992 we’re graduating college. I, on the other hand, was not. I was wrapping up a four year enlistment in the Army and felt “behind” my classmates. I wailed to my mom, “Everyone from my class is graduating college. EVERYONE.” My mom chuckled at this notion and assured me it was not the case. I didn’t believe her and was troubled by this thought. Apparently, I’d already lost sight of my senior quote which was from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden:
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
This passage goes on to say, “It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple-tree or an oak. Shall he turn his spring into summer?”
Years later, I realized my mom was right. Everyone was not graduating college. They were hearing their own drummer and stepping to the music they heard.
As an HR professional, I once told a manager the following:
Sometimes, we know someone who is well liked and we erroneously assume they are liked by everyone. This is seldom true. Last Saturday evening, I learned that even Mr. Rogers had his critics. Just google "Criticism of Fred Rogers". Turns out there's an ample supply of articles criticizing and condemning him. Shortly after Fred Rogers passed away, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church wrote a manifesto in which he said Fred Rogers was in hell for "... (giving) aid and comfort to homosexuals. … His syrupy teachings led millions astray. He was a wuss and he was an enabler of wusses.” The Westboro Baptist Church is a collection of hate mongering assholes who were brazenly hateful before the Trump administration made that behavior passé. The Westboro Baptist Church protested outside of Fred Rogers funeral. But Phelps wasn't the only one who believed Rogers to be an enabler of wusses. Others just said it with more eloquence than Phelps and his faithless followers could ever muster. I think Mr. Fred Rogers was peachy. I'd be honored if I lived in such a way that the Westboro Baptist "Church" protested my funeral. There are always going to be people who hate peaches.
No, of course you don't, of course you don't You say life is peachy without me Of course you don't, of course you don't You say life is peachy without me.
- Missy Higgins